Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Guy Verhofstadt, Unimpressed by Brexit, Ends Up Being Hacked by Sneaky Chinese Spies! What a Wild Ride!

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun6,2024

Former Belgian Prime Minister and European Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt has been identified as the latest target of a Chinese state-linked espionage effort aimed at officials working on an inter-parliamentary committee focused on China.

The espionage campaign, which the US Department of Justice indicted in March, has been attributed to Chinese hackers with ties to the Ministry of State Security, China’s national spy agency.

Their targets include members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a coalition critical of Beijing, spanning every European Union member.

Verhofstadt, known in the UK for his staunch anti-Brexit stance, is among five Belgian officials targeted by the Chinese hacker group APT31 for their involvement with IPAC.

Other victims include Samuel Cogolati, a Green MP; Els Van Hoof, chair of Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Committee; Hilde Vautmans, a liberal MEP; and Georges Dallemagne, a federal deputy.

In response to the allegations, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib summoned the Chinese ambassador last week to address the issue.

Cogolati revealed that he was targeted in 2021, the same year Beijing sanctioned him and other EU lawmakers. However, he only became aware of the cyberattacks in February 2023 through an email from the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium.

According to a letter from the US FBI sent to Cogolati on April 5, the 2021 hacking campaign aimed at the .gov-style accounts of EU legislators associated with IPAC. The attackers used 10 accounts to send over 1,000 emails to more than 400 individuals linked to IPAC.

Van Hoof recounted how the spies targeted her laptop through an email appearing to originate from an international agency.

“The emails were about Donald Trump and human rights. They seemed very innocent and informative. But the intention was to get into our system,” she said in an interview with a local radio show.

In a joint press statement, the five targeted officials emphasised that the cyber campaign was not directed at any particular political party or country. “It was an attack on any politician who dares to challenge Beijing,” they said, condemning the actions as an assault on democratic values.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Guy Verhofstadt, Unimpressed by Brexit, Ends Up Being Hacked by Sneaky Chinese Spies! What a Wild Ride!”
  1. How did the Chinese hackers manage to infiltrate such high-profile officials’ accounts without being detected for so long? Do you think similar espionage efforts are ongoing in other regions as well?

    1. It’s not surprising that the Chinese hackers were able to infiltrate accounts of high-profile officials without being detected for so long. Cyber espionage efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it challenging for even top officials to detect such attacks. Given the global nature of cyber threats, similar espionage efforts are likely ongoing in other regions as well.

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